For an infant, being born can be a violent experience. A lot of things can go wrong, even though there are many advances in medicine that have made childbirth so much safer. One of those things that can go wrong is a skull fracture. A baby’s skull is delicate, and although flexible, is also vulnerable to being fractured as it comes out of the womb.
In some instances a fracture may happen spontaneously, simply as a result of the head being under pressure from the mother’s pelvis bones and birth canal. In other cases, though, the fracture of a newborn’s skull may be caused by a doctor, nurse, or midwife’s error. A skull fracture may be mild, but it can also be severe and put a child at risk for lasting brain damage or even death. An infant skull fracture lawsuit is a way for parents to get justice and compensation on behalf of an injured child.
Infant Skull Fractures: How They Happen
The newborn skull is different from the skull of an adult or older child. It is made up of plates held together by flexible sutures. These don’t solidify until the child is older so that the brain can grow in an expanding skull. The flexibility of the infant skull also allows it to go through delivery, with sometimes extreme pressure and forces on it, and come out intact.
Unfortunately the newborn skull is also delicate and vulnerable to injury when something goes wrong during or shortly after childbirth. During childbirth the number one cause of skull fractures is the use of instruments. Doctors sometimes use forceps to grip and pull on an infant as it emerges or vacuum extractors to suction the infant out of the birth canal. In either instance the instrument may be used forcefully enough to fracture the skull. After a child is born, mishandling it can also lead to injury to the skull, such as dropping the baby.
Consequences of a Skull Fracture
Sometimes a skull fracture in an infant is minor and linear, meaning that it does not cause the plates of the skull to move. These linear fractures typically heal with time and do not cause lasting damage. Other types of fractures, or more severe linear fractures, can cause real, serious harm. A depressed fracture, for instance, often causes hemorrhaging or bleeding on the brain. This puts pressure on the brain and can cause brain damage and even the death of the infant if not treated immediately.
If a baby suffers brain damage from a fracture, he may live with a disability for the rest of his life. Brain damage at birth can cause developmental delays, cognitive impairments, seizure disorders, behavioral disorders, and even paralysis. The consequences of brain damage from a skull fracture may require lifelong care, treatment, and interventions.
Negligence and an Infant Skull Fracture Lawsuit
For parents who believe that their infant’s skull fracture could and should have been prevented, that it was the result of an error made by a medical caregiver, a lawsuit is a legal avenue to seek compensation and justice. Medical malpractice is very serious and a medical error that causes a skull fracture can have lasting implications for a child and his family. There is the loss of a normal life, the possibility that a parent will have to stay home from work, the costs of treatment and care, and emotional and physical pain and suffering.
An infant skull fracture lawsuit can help devastated parents get a sense of justice. If you believe that your doctor used too much force with instruments or failed to see that your labor would be complicated and did not perform a Cesarean section, you could file a lawsuit to make that person or institution be held accountable for the mistakes made. Doing so gives you a feeling of justice being served, but also puts pressure on those responsible to take better care in the future. This in turn protects children yet to be born.
How to File an Infant Skull Fracture Lawsuit
To file a lawsuit is not necessarily simple, and there are many steps along the way that will be complicated. You don’t have to do it on your own, though. To begin with your lawsuit, first find a good lawyer to take care of all the details for you. An experienced birth injury and medical malpractice lawyer will know what to do and will be able to tell you what you need to do, such as keeping medical records and recollecting what happened when your child was born.
Your lawyer will have the most important responsibility of making a strong case that medical malpractice caused your child’s injury. Your lawyer will collect evidence to show that the medical caregiver you entrusted with the care of your baby made an error in judgment and that the error led directly to your child’s injury and resulting disability.
What You Can Claim in a Skull Fracture Lawsuit
In addition to bringing the responsible parties to justice for medical errors, your case will also be a way for you to get compensation on behalf of your child. Other parents have won millions for their children in birth injury cases and you may be able to as well, if you and your lawyer can make a strong case for medical malpractice.
Among the things that you can claim in a lawsuit are compensation to cover all current medical bills related to the skull fracture as well as future expected medical bills. You can claim for the specialized care and treatment you expect your child to need and the expense of travel to get those services.
You can claim for lost wages if you or a spouse are forced to leave work to care for your child. You can also claim for intangible costs like emotional pain and suffering or loss of a normal life for your child. A lawsuit may be the most important thing you do for your child and his future care.